Bryn Mawr Classical Review 02.04.19


From the Editor's Disk:



The Endless Summer ...


... is almost over. That's the last of BMCR 2.4, 17 reviews in all plus now three supplementary files. Issue 2.5 is already a-brewing with a hypothetical September publication date. This whole enterprise is invigorating, but of course chastening: a particularly chaste friend sends along the following quotation to remind us that the journal racket is not one that normally expects to erect monuments more lasting than bronze.

Henry James, "The Science of Criticism" (in: Literary Criticism -- Library of America 1984, p. 95):
"Periodical literature is a huge, open mouth which has to be fed -- a vessel of immense capacity which has to be filled. It is like a regular train which starts at an advertised hour, but which is free to start only if every seat be occupied. The seats are many, the train is ponderously long, and hence the manufacture of dummies for the seasons when there are not passengers enough. A stuffed mannikin is thrust into the empty seat, where it makes a creditable figure till the end of the journey. It look sufficiently like a passenger, and you know that it is not one only when you perceive that it neither says anything nor gets out. The guard attends to it when the train is shunted, blows the cinders from its wooden face, and gives a different crook to its elbow, so that it may serve for another run. In this way, in a well-conducted periodical, the blocks of remplissage are the dummies of criticism -- the recurrent, regulated breakers in the tide of talk."

While the summer winds down, many readers will be making their last carefree library visits for a while. Worth a side trip are two new fascicles from TLL: Index librorum scriptorum inscriptionum ex quibus exempla afferuntur: editio altera (1990) is a very useful tool, listing all the authors they cover, giving forms of reference, and including a discreet rating of the relative merits of editions: a model work. Very different is the slimmer fascicle, containing a single 10 page text in about half a dozen different languages (ranging from Latin to Russian), Praemonenda de rationibus et usu operis (also 1990): this offers a concise summary of TLL working principles and procedures and a user's guide to the structure of the individual TLL articles. Of particular value is the description of how practices have changed over the years (am I the only reader who wasn't quite sure what to make of those stray Onomasticon volumes?): readers of both these volumes will be better-advised and more cunning users of the whole TLL. But this would not be a responsible electronic journal if it did not add that the most marvelous thing to happen to Latin lexicography since TLL is just out on the streets: the Packard Humanities Institute CD-ROM #5, containing all Latin literature down to A.D. 200, plus a few bits from later periods and a splash of Bibles (LXX, Greek NT, Vulgate, KJV, Hebrew, etc.), is at your newsstands now. The IBYCUS-L e-mail list has been buzzing with discussions of how to teach the always underdocumented Ibycus to talk to this disk, but all indications are that the disk is a marvel of the nations. I have it on my desk and am perfectly willing to use it, if only the CD-ROM drive I've ordered will arrive; but then I'm also waiting for the CETEDOC disk later this year or early next that will incorporate 30 million words of patristic and medieval texts. A new age is now begun, which makes this a good time to call it a day and see if my favorite tree bench is available for a little quality time over the next couple of weeks.

JO'D 2 August 1991